UBC Okanagan associate professor Mary Jung.

UBCO researcher creates diabetes diet

Partnership between university and the Kelowna YMCA sets-up university laboratory

With world diabetes happening tomorrow, UBC Okanagan associate professor Mary Jung wants to help those living with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes create and maintain healthy habits.

The developer and researcher has devoted her research career to investigating what makes healthy habits stick. Her laboratory at UBC’s Okanagan campus—while petri dish and beaker-free—has been home to multiple studies that sought to identify how to make lasting dietary and exercise changes. The result: Small Steps for Big Changes, a three-week personalized diet and exercise lifestyle counselling program for individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes.

With the help of a private BC foundation, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Small Steps for Big Changes is now available to the Okanagan community at the Kelowna Downtown YMCA.

Developed in 2012 with an initial group of 32 participants with prediabetes, the personalized, one-on-one, training and counselling program showed promising results. Fast forward to 2016, and once again, the program has proven to result in long-lasting positive lifestyle changes for its 100 participants at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The YMCA UBC collaboration represents a unique form of research in action. While typically health research experiences a 7-year delay from study to practice, the YMCA-based lab offers the cost-free, accessible program while continuing to gather evidence for wider adoption.

“This pilot represents an opportunity for continuing to build evidence of the program’s success, while putting the time-efficient, effective program directly in the hands of people who can use it,” says Jung, who explains the vision for the program is to offer access across British Columbia, and beyond.

While adhering to a healthy diet and regular exercise have innumerable rewards for all populations, the program was developed with the intention of addressing the silent epidemic of prediabetes, which Diabetes Canada reports is expected to grow to 23 per cent of the Canadian population by 2025.

“The goal is to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in those at risk by providing a program that is accessible and cost free,” says Jung.

“Our aim is to help individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to become independent exercisers and more devoted to a healthier diet. In the end, we want to enable positive, healthy and life-long changes to behaviour.”

YMCA of Okanagan was critical to moving the laboratory from campus to community. When Karlene Sewell, General Manager of Health Initiatives, learned of the program, it was a logical collaboration.

“YMCA of Okanagan is dedicated to building healthy communities,” says Sewell. “Small Steps for Big Changes represents YMCA’s pursuit of new programs and services that address the specific and unique needs in the communities we serve.”

The downtown community lab represents the first small step towards big changes for the YMCA and UBC partnership.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘The most beautiful moment of my life’ – Penticton kidney donor

A Penticton woman donates one of her kidney’s

Open burning permitted again in Kamloops Fire Centre

Low fire rating prompts decision throughout Kamloops Fire Centre

Spirit North funding annoucement now expected any day

Indigenous Services Canada annouces new timeline for funding annoucement

Man with Penticton connection convicted of manslaughter

Shayne McGenn found guilty in apartment killing of David Delaney

Penticton city council considering neighbourhood carriage house ban

Councillor votes on the issue, despite owning a home in the neighbourhood

Your morning news in 90: Sept. 19, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marissa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

Who’s running in Oliver’s election?

Candidates for the Oliver municipal and rural election

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Most Read